Earlier this month I went back home for a week long visit. While there my family and two cousins, Tia and Daviyd, went on a rafting trip down the Platte River. The whole thing turned out to be a bigger adventure than any of us planned on.
We had three rafts with us. Two bigger ones and a small one we put all of our supplies in and covered over with a tarp in the hopes our tent and sleeping bags would stay dry. We set out on Saturday after getting a late start. We meant to start in the late morning but instead didn't get on the water until two o'clock.
We split up, Ryan and I and our parents in one raft with the supply raft tied behind us and William, Tia, and Daviyd in the other.
Saturday a storm rolled in. It didn't rain, but it was cloudy which wasn't bad at first. Not until we'd hit rapids and got ourselves soaked. Even then it wasn't bad, and Ryan and I would have had reason to complain since we were in the front of the raft. It actually only made the white water more fun. However, by the end of the day as we began looking for a place to pull in and camp we were all chilled to the bone and shivering.
We finally found a nice spot and were in the middle of unpacking and changing into dry, warm clothes - and Daviyd in the middle of his hunting for the biggest pieces of firewood he could find - when a man pulled up and said we were on a ranch. He said he wouldn't mind if we stayed but his bosses would be mad. I think he felt bad because I was standing there shivering, my teeth rattling around inside my head.
We had no choice but to pack up and go down to public land. It didn't take us long, maybe fifteen minutes, before we found an even better site only accessible by the river. We pulled in, warmed up, devoured our dinner since we'd not had anything since breakfast, and sat around the fire and talked and argued about the best way to eat marshmallows.
My dad owns a huge army tent, but instead of trying to pack it around we'd taken two smaller ones. A two man tent and a three man. The first idea was for me to sleep with my parents in the two man, but then my brothers and cousins insisted we could get all five of us into the three man. So we all piled in like sardines and slept restlessly through the rain storm. (When it passed Daviyd left us after he woke up to find William's arm around his head. He spent the night sleeping by our dying camp fire.)
The next day we didn't hit any white water, but the whole trip proved to be a bigger adventure than the rapids. Especially for Ryan and I. Because of our tag along supply raft we were constantly being hurled into the banks where we bounced off rocks and were knocked around by three branches. The others had an easier time, drifting with the current and eating snacks non stop. Not that I wanted to trade places, I was having too much fun battling the rocks, though when Ryan and Daddy got knocked in and had trouble getting back in the raft because of the current I got concerned.
One time we got lodged on a rock in the middle of the river and had to fight to get off. I stuck my oar into the water and pushed, and ended up shoving myself in head first. Then later in the day Tia and I decided to jump into the river, and had to be hauled back into the raft because we hadn't realized how swift the current was where we'd jumped in.
By the time we got to the town we'd set out for we'd rafted down river 70 miles - between 60 and 80 so Tia said we should just say 70 - we were soaked, sun burned, and worn out. But we'd all had so much fun we were reluctant to get out of the rafts, even though we'd spent ten or eleven hours in them on Sunday.
With our hair a mess, our clothes covered in sand and fish water, we headed toward a cafe were we devoured hamburgers and admired each other's sun burns.